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Maguire to Man United: The world's most-expensive defender in Opta stats

Omnisport
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905   //    05 Aug 2019, 19:04 IST

New Manchester United signing Harry Maguire
New Manchester United signing Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire's long-anticipated move to Manchester United has finally gone through for a reported £80million.

The England man developed into a fully fledged top-flight star at Leicester City and their reward was a world-record fee for a defender.

But have United found someone capable of making the step up from a mid-table club and helping them return as a dominant force in English football?

With the help of Opta, we take a look at how his numbers stack up against his new United team-mates and the rest of the Premier League.

 

STRONGER THAN UNITED TEAM-MATES

United struggled to establish a regular partnership in defence last term, with Victor Lindelof clearly a favourite as the rest of the cast rotated alongside him.

Maguire will go straight into the side and it is easy to see why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was so keen to sign him; the centre-back brings an impressive blend of attributes.

Last season, he won 78 per cent of his aerial battles, bettering physical defenders Chris Smalling (64 per cent), Phil Jones (72 per cent) and Eric Bailly (76 per cent). His front-foot defending was evident as he executed 37 interceptions, too.

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Meanwhile, Maguire made 61 passes per 90 minutes, more than ball-playing centre-backs Lindelof (52) and Jones (54).

Importantly, Maguire played in 31 matches - more than Lindelof, Smalling, Jones and Bailly - managing to show consistency and avoid the injury issues that dogged many of his new colleagues.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me and played a part in my career.

I’m proud and honoured to join @ManUtd. What an incredible football journey it’s been so far pic.twitter.com/yVaTnBBHv6
— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) August 5, 2019

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TOPPING PREMIER LEAGUE CHARTS

It is not just set against United's rather uninspiring group of central defenders that Maguire stands out either.

His aerial success rate was the best in the Premier League last season, outperforming Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk (75 per cent).

But Maguire really comes into his own when given the freedom to carry the ball forward, completing the most dribbles (16) of any centre-back in the top flight in 2018-19.

Within the same group he also ranked joint-sixth for goals (three), eighth for passes (1747), fourth for touches in the opposition box (63) and sixth for shots (30).

Whether from set-pieces or when starting attacks inside his own half, Maguire should add to United's goal threat.

78% - Harry Maguire won 78% of his aerial duels in the 2018-19 Premier League season; a better success rate than any of the 205 other players to be involved in 50+ aerials in the competition, just ahead of Virgil van Dijk (75%). Slab. pic.twitter.com/SK0OVlUHU6
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 2, 2019

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STILL WORK TO DO DEFENSIVELY?

Maguire might represent an upgrade on United's other defensive options but there are still areas for concern in his game.

In fact, some of Maguire's numbers in 2018-19 were less impressive than they had been a year earlier as he burst onto the scene and established himself in the England side.

The former Sheffield United man made just 31 tackles in 31 games last season, down from 63 in 38. A change in Leicester's approach might explain that difference, but Maguire's success rate in such challenges also fell considerably, from 73 per cent to 54.8 per cent.

Maguire clearly enjoyed playing out from the back last term - making seven more passes in seven fewer matches than in 2017-18 - but he also made four errors leading to opposition shots.

Only three players in the league (Willy Boly, Lewis Dunk and Sean Morrison) made more and must now strike a balance between defence and attack at United.

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